My graduate and postdoctoral training were in the areas of psychological services, developmental psychology, poverty, and public policy with mentors whose backgrounds were in psychology, sociology, and economics. Thus, I have been trained across several social science disciplines, and consequently, I do not identify with one particular discipline. The majority of my interdisciplinary research program is centered around family-related factors, such as poverty and family structure, and their influence on food insecurity/food assistance program participation (i.e. indicators of poverty) and obesity; however, I also realize that nutrition and health do not occur in isolation. For that reason, I have also focused on stress, social support, depression, and cardiovascular health.
My target populations are socio-economically disadvantaged and vulnerable groups with a specific emphasis on racial and ethnic minorities, women, and children. To conduct my research I have primarily used longitudinal secondary data, but I have recently begun a complementary focus on community-engaged research. My interdisciplinary focus has provided me the opportunity to make significant contributions to various disciplines, including child development, family, and public health.
Recent Publications and Research Activity
Selected Funded Grants
Principal Investigator, “Houston-area Opportunities for Undergraduate Student Training in Obesity & Nutrition (HOUSTON) Academy.” USDA NIFA (2017-67032-26021), 2017-2021 (Co-Principal Investigators: C. Johnston and C. Scott, University of Houston).
Co-Principal Investigator, “From Internships to Careers: Developing Hispanic Students through a USDA Ambassador Student Program” USDA Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) Education Grants Program (2015-38422-24080), 2015-2019 (Principal Investigator: J. Madera; Co- Principal Investigators: M. Dawson, J. Neal).
Co-Investigator. “A Community Collaborative for Preventing and Treating Obesity in Underserved Communities in Houston”. United Health Foundation 2016 - 2019. (Principal Investigators: D.P. O’Connor & E. M. Obasi, University of Houston)
Co-Investigator (PI of Pilot Study1) “½ U-HAND (University of Houston/MD Anderson) Program to Reduce Cancer Disparities” National Cancer Institute, Cancer Centers Support Grant 2017-2021, Award Number P20CA221697 (Principal Investigator: L. R. Reitzel, University of Houston),
Co-Investigator (PI of the Houston-based project) “Interventions to Address College Food and Housing Security”. Kresge Foundation. 2017-2019 (Principal Investigator: S. Goldrick-Rab, Temple University)
*indicates student co-author at the time of submission
^ indicates senior author
*Chavez, F. L., Hernandez, D. C., Harris, G. J., Grzywacz, J. G. (2017). Household food security discordance among Latino adolescents and parents. American Journal of Health Behavior, 41 (6), 775-783.
Hernandez, D. C., *Reesor, L., & Kabiri, L. (in press). Maternal concerns and perceptions of elementary school-age children’s weight status. Journal for Specialist in Pediatric Nursing. DOI: 10.1111/jspn.12191
*Silveira, S. L., Ledoux, T., Cottingham, M., & ^Hernandez, D. C. (in press). Relationship between functional status and depression in competitive U.S. male wheelchair rugby athletes. Spinal Cord DOI: 10.1038/sc.2017.40
*Reesor, L., M., Vaughan, E. M., Hernandez, D. C., Johnston, C. A. (in press). Addressing outcomes expectancies in behavior change. American Journal Lifestyle Medicine. DOI: 10.1177/1559827617722504
*Arlinghaus, K., Moreno, J. P., *Reesor, L. M., Hernandez, D. C., & Johnston, C. A. (2017). Compañeros: High school students mentor middle school students to address obesity among Hispanic adolescents. Preventing Chronic Disease, 14, 170130. DOI: 10.5888/pcd14.170130.
Hernandez, D. C., *Reesor, L., & Murillo, R. (2017). Food insecurity and adult overweight/obesity: Gender and race/ethnic differences. Appetite, 117, 373-378. DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2017.07.010
Johnston, C. A., Moreno, J. P., Hernandez, D. C., **Reichek, B., & Foreyt, J. (2017). Dissemination of a school-based obesity intervention for Mexican Americans: A randomized controlled trial. Health Behavior & Policy Review, 4 (5), 454-466. DOI: 10.14485/HBPR.4.5.5
Hernandez, D. C., *Reesor, L., & Murillo, R. (2017). Gender disparities in the food insecurity-overweight and food insecurity-obesity paradox among older adults. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 117, 1087-1096. DOI: 10.1016/j.jand.2017.01.014
Murillo, R., *Reesor, L., Scott, C., & ^Hernandez, D. C. (2017). Food insecurity and pre-diabetes in adults: Race/ethnic and sex differences. American Journal of Health Behavior, 41 (4), 435-443. DOI: 10.5993/AJHB.41.4.8.
*Powell, L., Frankel, L., & ^Hernandez, D. C. (2017). The mediating role of child self-regulation of eating in the relationship between parental use of food as a reward and child emotional overeating. Appetite, 113, 78-83. DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2017.02.017
*Daundasekara, S.S., Beasley, A. D., O’Connor, D. P., Sampson, M., Hernandez, D. C., & Ledoux, T. (2017). Validation of the intuitive eating scale for pregnant women. Appetite, 112 (1), 201-209. DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2017.02.001
Hernandez, D. C. & Johnston, C. A. (2017). Individual and environmental barriers to successful aging: The importance of considering environmental supports. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, 11 (1), 21-23. DOI: 10.1177/1559827616672617
Hernandez, D. C., *Reesor, L., Reitzel, L. L., Businelle, M. S., Wetter, D. W., & Kendzor, D. E. (2017). Smoking, financial strain, and food insecurity. Health Behavior & Policy Review, 4(2), 182-188. DOI: https://doi.org/10.14485/HBPR.4.2.9
A.B. in Psychology; Certificate in Spanish at Princeton University, 1998
MSEd in Psychological Services at University of Pennsylvania, 2000
Ph.D. in Applied Developmental & Educational Psychology at Boston College, 2005
Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in Research and Training Program on Poverty and Public Policy at University of Michigan, 2005 - 2007